Hack Number 1 was about being allowed to attend meetings by qualifying as a journalist. Sometimes though, you have to be an aggrieved party to get anybody to listen. I was reading BoingBoing one morning and they were talking about an exclusive deal the Smithsonian Institution had cut with Showtime to do films that used the archives or the staff. Ken Burns was upset. The whole deal was all very vague and hush hush and the contract governing the deal was a secret. That seemed strange, so I sent off a FOIA request and got the kind folks at EFF to represent me (you can't do much better than this for representation).
What I've found most puzzling about the Showtime Situation is the idea that the Smithsonian has tried to create an Institution Accountable to Nobody. Though the Institution purports to "follow the intent and spirit" of the Freedom of Information Act, the FOIA request I filed was acknowledged and then resolutely ignored. My request to the Chief Justice to view minutes of Regents meetings was likewise ignored. The argument is that the Smithsonian has two halves, a Private Trust and a Public Trust. To the Private Trust, I have no standing.
It should be noted that the show is not yet over as there are still several fat ladies who have yet to sing. In particular, a slew of powerful members of Congress from both sides of the aisle don't appear to be very amused with the goings-on, nor with being told that the affair is none of their concern, that they don't have standing.
This clip has a restrictive license (no derivative works) because it reuses a small amount of footage previously shown on C-SPAN as fair use for this news series and parody of compelling public interest.
This clip has a restrictive license (no derivative works) because it reuses a small amount of audio previously recorded by the Grateful Dead as fair use for this news series and commentary of compelling public interest.
January 30, 2007 Subject:
Undercutting your own credibility
Hack 2 was the first clip I watched, hoping to become more informed.
The Hacker seriously undercuts his credibility by use of a video stunt -- six or so repetitions of a 2-second phrase, "tremendous hullabaloo," from one of the speakers, the last presented with audio distortion so that the speaker comes out with a squeaky voice. This stunt makes me wonder if the Hacker used other, less obvious distortions, in particular whether his selection of clips pieced together to create a story wasn't seriously unbalanced.
My take is that this is not a series one should rely on for a complete or fair picture. Maybe it was never intended to be, but with the way the Net works, I followed a list link that didn't indicated that the would be one-sided.